The countdown to the very first Junior Roller Derby World Cup is on (July 8-9, 2015), and we are incredibly proud to announce that Pivotstar is an official sponsor of Team Canada Junior Roller Derby! We are so honoured that the Team Canada skaters will be wearing Pivotstar uniforms, and we couldn’t be more excited to do our small part to help our girls get to this historic event.
We’ve been getting to know some of the players on the team in the past few weeks, but what’s a good team without a great coach? 8Mean Wheeler (aka Kim MacKenzie) has been playing roller derby with Vancouver’s Terminal City Rollergirls since 2006, and coaching for almost as long. She has been a member of Team Canada (women’s) in 2008, 2011 and 2014. She is a trainer with Camp Pivotstar and has coached all across Canada, the United States and even in Europe. We caught up with 8Mean to learn a little more about her and what she’s looking forward to at the Junior World Cup.
What was it about roller derby that made you first fall in love?
The do-it-yourself nature of it – being able to play the sport and help build my league at the same time.
What’s the secret to your longevity in the sport?
I have other interests! I play field hockey when I’m not skating, and it helps keep me whole physically and mentally.
Where do you see yourself in derby in five years?
Coaching, playing and working with Juniors. The future of our sport is going to be amazing.
How do you picture roller derby in 20 years?
In the mainstream! Part of our culture, on TV, in the sports section. And kids talking about wanting to play.
What do you consider your greatest roller derby achievement?
Skating for Team Canada three times and representing my country, and now a fourth time coaching Team Canada’s juniors.
Describe your current state of mind regarding derby in two words or less.
What makes you a good coach?
I try to be transparent, fair and accountable, and I expect the same from my players.
What’s the difference between coaching juniors and coaching adults?
You work with 30 teenagers for a weekend and tell me…it’s incredible, crazy, rewarding and exhausting all at the same time.
Describe your favourite coaching moment so far.
July 6th to 9th 2015 in Kent, Washington!
What are your expectations for the Junior World Cup? What are you looking forward to?
I can’t wait to see the kids competing. And taking part in the event, it all happens so fast and then it’s over. I know how it felt each time for me and I want them to take away the same feelings.
How is Team Canada coming together? Where are they excelling as a team? Any surprises?
There are always surprises, skaters who stand out, and others who realize that they need to push themselves a little more. The teamwork has been building, and that’s a great sign. What we need on the track to succeed is everyone playing for each other.
Practice time together is obviously limited – how do you deal with that? How do you make the most of the practice time you do have together? What are you focusing on?
Teamwork and trust is key. We have been fortunate enough to have a few camps together with great attendance, so they have a good feel for each other. The important part is to not let the excitement of the event distract them too much and to keep them focused on what they need to do on the track.
If Team Canada had a motto, what would it be?
Beaver Fever has been our cheer, and they yell it loud and proud each time!
Good luck in Washington, 8Mean! Not that you’ll need it.
P.S. Did you know that you can help Team Canada Junior Roller Derby get to Washington for World Cup, and be stylish and comfortable at the same time? Proceeds from our Canada Capri Pants and Limited Edition Hoodies (sleeveless and sleevey) go to support Team Canada’s quest for world junior roller derby domination!
8Mean photos courtesy of Bob Ayers